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Whately’s landmark giant milk bottle gets face-lift

The huge milk bottle in front of the old Whately Center School was restored recently.

Recorder/Paul Franz

The huge milk bottle in front of the old Whately Center School was restored recently. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

The outsize bottle that sits before the Center School on Chestnut Plain Road has been a landmark for decades. With $650 in private donations, the Whately Historical Society recently restored it.

“The milk bottle is a symbol of Whately,” said Adelia Bardwell, a member of the Historical Society. “We need to keep it in tip-top shape.”

The biggest donation came from a local resident, Maryann Keating, who recently died. At her request, any money donated to her memorial fund would be given to the Historical Society.

Other major contributions were Cowls Building Supply and John Cooper of Whately.

The milk bottle was scraped down, cleaned and repainted in May with a new emblem and cream line.

“I’m pleased. It’s back in tip-top condition and people can be proud and happy when they see it,” Bardwell said.

The work was completed in time for the dairy bar tradition to continue in September at the fall festival, where townspeople can get free scoops of ice cream from the bottle’s dutch door.

The Historical Society began discussing refurbishing the landmark one year ago as black mildew stained the white surface.

The society cleaned the bottle five years ago, but this time it added a paint job, according to Bill Saunders of the Historical Society.

“The milk bottle is still strong and in good condition considering its age and weather,” Saunders said.

The landmark was originally on the west side of State Road, where it served as the dairy bar for the town’s largest dairy farm, Quonquont Dairy, from 1932 to 1942.

In 1951 the bottle was moved across the street to the parking lot of the Pall Mel Restaurant, later the Lamplighter. Years later, in 1990, it was donated to the Historical Society. In 1995, the milk bottle was moved to its current spot.

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